We are in the final quarter of 2020, and at many stages of this year, it has felt as though finding calm is a revolutionary act.
With recent world affairs bringing us together globally, there’s also been profound polarization felt across the earth. We’ve witnessed circumstances that have incited fear, tension, and vulnerability. We’ve felt the ache of worrying for our loved ones. We’ve met the pain of loss, and touched uncertainty with our own hands.
This constant act of adaptation can become exhausting for our mind, body and spirit. To sustain our flexibility and maintain clarity, it’s imperative that we incorporate rest into our day to day. Taking on a regular practice of utilizing tools, habits, and actions that bring us relaxation and ease, helps us to build a reserve of stability that we can call upon in times of great uncertainty or upheaval.
There are so many outside voices and structures in our lives that suggest to us that we don’t have time to rest, or shouldn’t even rest at all. So many of us feel a direct correlation between our value and our output, and when given the opportunity to unplug and do nothing, can experience a guilty sort of unease. We might not feel that we deserve to feel good if we aren’t contributing somehow, or when so much of what we see around us looks like it is hurting.
But the truth is, if we are motivated to create positive change for our loved ones, our clients, and our communities, sometimes we have to shut it all down, and go inward. Our capacity to create a healing impact is directly fed and fostered by our capacity to feel the effects of our own medicine. The more familiar we can become with our parasympathetic nervous system, the more equipped we are to adapt alongside the adapting world.
For me personally, finding calm among even the darkest of times requires a collaborative effort between my day to day habits, and a willingness to schedule in acts of care for myself. I may stumble upon moments of ease from time to time, but often true, meaningful rest requires my participation and effort.
This begins with a daily routine. Yes, sometimes our discipline is in fact what sets us free. Routine gives us an opportunity to find control and predictability in our schedules, and there are ways that we can do this without the risk of monotony. In fact, I would invite you to be playful and creative when implementing self soothing practices into your life. For example, you might find that incorporating a good playlist and some dance moves into your morning get-ready routine helps you release stress about what the day may bring. Inquire into ways that you can make the tasks that keep you balanced more indulgent and fun.
Our definitions of “calm” might be the same, but the ways in which we find it are unique to each individual. If we’re not sure what calm looks like for us, first, we can ask ourselves “what do I like? What makes me feel good?” Make it sensory! Often, if we can cue the body to relax, the mind will follow.
A great way to start is to map out an “ideal” day for yourself, and don’t skimp on the details. For example, write out a meticulous list of what a perfect weeknight’s evening before sleep looks like for you. What time do you start to unwind? What’s the lighting in your bedroom like? What’s on your bedside table, and why? What do your sheets feel like against your skin before you fall asleep? Is there the scent of lavender, rose, or perhaps sandalwood in the air? It may sound silly, but do not shy away from the details, as sometimes that’s exactly where the recipe for peace can be found. You don’t need anything too elaborate, although if elaborate is your thing, that’s excellent too!
Write a list of things that you know bring you calm, and leave room to include things you may not have tried yet, or things you haven’t done in some time. If what comes to mind are things you may not be able to foresee including on an everyday basis, then challenge yourself to schedule them into your week. Get a calendar to put up somewhere in your home, and see if you can find or make one that inspires you to fill up the blank days’ spaces with scheduled self care, affirmations, and reminders that bring you ease. Keep these visual reminders around you so that you can have cues in your day to day that encourage you to make room to relax, mentally and physically.
Whatever your story, remember that you deserve to feel these moments of ease in your own body, mind, and spirit. Remember that the world doesn’t only need the most productive, dynamic version of you. True alchemy requires rest, and calm.
Perhaps finding calm is in fact a revolutionary act, because it denotes that we have independence from a world that demands we worry and struggle. It provides us with the space to see that we can trust the quality of care that we give to ourselves. It requires that we turn away from the outer world, go into the depths of who we are, and find an acceptance with what is.